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tv   [untitled]    February 27, 2013 8:00pm-8:30pm PST

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as you can see from the new steel walls, the work had been going on for weeks. so, the implication that somehow they got their permit and they got them on time and they got it done, that is just not correct. we supplied the board with the permit history and the complaint history of this site just for a bit of flavor, if you will. and that is the exhibit 4, and exhibit 5 to my brief. to show that this owner never gets permits. a 40-year-old building which does not have a single final permit. if you look at exhibit 5, i set
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out there has only been four permits in the history of this building. there was a reroofing permit in 1991, when expired without being finalized and a sidewalk repair permit and a street permit and the permit in front of you today. and so, even with all of the tenant problems and the complaints that took months to prepare and for the 40-year-old building there has never been a single permit taken out until the neighbors complained about work going on and in the current permit was taken out. the neighbors filed this appeal because they had no idea what was going on.
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>> they attended a community meeting i believe it was on november the fifth and within a few days of attending that community meeting about the wireless antenna facility, the construction started. they had no choice, having received no notice, no permits and no plans, on file anywhere. and could not get any information, they had no choice but to assume that they were starting the work on the wireless facility. and i don't think that you could consult the neighbors for that and filing these appeals. i have been dealing with an attorney out of milbray and an attorney named eileen hawstien that represents the vocal point insurance agency and i was in contact with her and in discussions with her less than two weeks ago, on february
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fourth. so, you know, after learning through her i passed on the information from the neighbors that the vocal point insurance company was supposedly the tenant and we don't have the confirmation from the call from miss hawkstien and i relied that information to the neighbors and the neighbors then to find out who they are. and if they are connected to at&t in some manner, what they plan to bring to the neighborhood. so, and that is when they had their concerns raised about whether the tenant that they just learned, the vocal point insurance agency was in fact a tenant that could go into that space under the new neighborhood commercial district which had been passed for terivel street as of august
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2012, and so, the neighbors concern shifted from this is part of a wireless facility or work without the permits to what about this new proposed tenant for this very large storefront? if you look and this storefront takes up at least a third of the block. if you look at my exhibit 2, you will see that it is by far the largest storefront anywhere around on teravel street and so it is really going to be the type of business that defines the neighborhood. and so, the neighbors then went to supervisor chu and started working with her office to determine whether or not this proposed new use, the vocal point insurance agency would be in compliance with the new neighborhood commercial district. and after communicating with them and meeting with them, i was not in on those meetings for the most part of those
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communications, but it was from the office and her assistant, that this is not the type of use that could be put into this space in the neighborhood district without a conditional use application and approval. it is not what is considered an active use under the new neighborhood commercial district rules and the purpose of the new neighborhood commercial districts and there were four of them found it out in the sunset was to create active storefronts with people coming in and out and the foot traffic that would in turn lead to more business for the surroundings area. and so, the supervisor office actually made to the planning
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department about the new use when we finally learned what it was. because that complaint went to the planning department to the supervisor office and my understanding as of february eight that was not a complaint from the neighbors. and the... i do have an e-mail from miss tang, confirming that it is the supervisor's belief that this does not comply with the new neighborhood. if notice had been given to the neighbors and if they had been told what was going to go into a long, vacant storefront, then, you know, we know what the use was and we know what the new tenants were and they would not have had to police
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the neighborhood, it is really been a hardship on them in a lot of ways, keeping an eye on this owner and on this building. so, the cu application would have brought that information to the mand we have the support from the supervisor's office. vocal point needs an application, first of all the agency is not a financial planning firm. and it is not a permitted use, that is the position taken by the respond ants and that is not true, if you go and do a search for vocal point they
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come up only as an insurance agency. they have one website. and could i have the overhead, please? and that is the vocal point agency t inc and if you click on what insurance products they offer, they offer insurance products, if you click on who they represent, they represent very large insurance companies including the heartford and john hancock and the reply brief tries to create a new entity and if you start playing with those names, first of all you come up with a company in irvine california which is vocal point insurance service and if you come up, you search for vocal point financial services you come up with a group out of white bear,
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minnesota. so, and in terms of meeting the requirements for having an active storefront, all that you have to really do is look at where vocal point insurance agency is now. they have three different offices but the office that they have here in san francisco is in a residential building. it is at 15th and geary. and may i have the overhead, please? and it is at 15th and geary, their sign is obscured but you enter into the rear of this apartment building and it is simply an office that is maintained in the back of the apartment building and here is a different view and here it the sign and you enter from the rear of this residential
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structure, not an active use within the meaning of the teriville street, commercial district. and if you look at section 790.110, which describes what a financial service producer is, which is the category in which they are trying to bring themselves it says that it is banking services and products, to the public such as banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. vocal point is not any of those things it is an insurance agency and it is not an active use. and so, that is how we got here. and i think that is all of the time that i need. and so i will be available to answer any questions that you may have. but, that is our appeal. we ask that you grant the appeal and require this applicant to obtain a
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conditional use approval. >> thank you. >> mr. gladstone? >> gladstone representing the owner of the building, howard weston. i would like him to talk and then i will continue. >> wait a second. >> my name is howard weston i live across the street from this building and i watched it built in 1976. i had my dental office on the ground floor across the street for 40 years where i treated the neighborhood. and i have lived in san francisco for 71 years. the building was maintained very nicely after it was built in 1976 for five years and then it started to have maintenance and it really fell into disrepair and when i retired in 2000 i looked at that time and i said that i have three good years left i will buy it and
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fix it up and remove this bliet from the neighborhood and make it look good again. that is what i did. i still have four of the long term tenants in the building that were there when i bought it. and i have made improvements in everybody's unit in fact, without passing any of that through. and but the two commercial units on the ground floor i have turned down people who wanted to put a massage spa a karate studio and some rather inappropriate uses for noise and odors for the people upstairs and this use seemed to fit perfectly because it started off as lake savings and loan. when it started life and through the years it became an office machinery repair and sales. it became a health food store and finally, an after school, school, which is something that i am very much in favor of. so, that is me.
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thanks. >> thank you. >> i am going to introduce melissa vancrum who is an associate in my office and i am in the office of hansen and brig et and she is an associate in the firm as well. first of all, a lot of misconceptions have to do with this being an insurance agency. i can understand chu's office stating that it should have a conditional use permit if it is an insurance agency but it is not. and you have misheard a lot of the facts. the point is first of all the lease the actual lease sign shows the name of the entity and as you can see it is called could you read it to me? >> vocal point financial network. vocal point financial network is a separate company, the secretary of state office has issued something showing that it is a separate company. it is business is financial services it is helping people
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invest their money. yes the principal of it also as an insurance company called vocal point insurance. it has a different office in the city. it has an office in oakland. the entity that mr. williams mentioned that is in irvine has a similar name but it is not the tenant in the lease but it is not affiliated with mr. chin and i ask him to show otherwise. we have a letter from the principal indicating that he is not running his insurance agency, he is running a financial service agency. >> as you probably know insurance companies have rated other entity and principals in them have licensing in financial service and investments. will insurance be offered here? yes, as one of many, many vehicles, the kind of insurance that will be offered is a financial asset based insurance not your typical life insurance.
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this is a financial service company. i doubt that was brought to the attention of supervisor chu's office. and we are going to show in the next few minutes, why the financial services company does not need a conditional use permit and it is based on the fact that a financial service's company unlike a business and professional services, does not require conditional use for active, frontage. by the way, speaking of active frontage, this use will have active frontage it does not cover one-third of the ground floors that mr. williams alleged it is 1600 square feet and the frontage of the street will be glass and active frontage active use is defined as a code in the code is one that has at least 60 percent of window and not solid walls. why would it have windows because it is a retail type of
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operation that encourages people to walk off of the street. it is oriented towards the asian community and it is in that district and encourages the kind of off the street retail that traditional banks do. i am now going to ask my associate melissa to talk a few minutes about the code and the details that differentiate business and professional services verses insurance verses a bank. and then i will come back and talk about the other issues. melissa? >> hello. my name is melissa vancrum and this particular development is located in the terival, neighborhood district where the financial services is allowed without a conditional use permit. the vocal point financial
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network we believe to be a financial service for a couple of reasons, brett has named several. also there is an interpretation that is in the code referenced to business and professional services. where the board of supervisors determined that a commodity trading broker was a financial service after the zoning administrator had ruled that it was a business or professional service because it did not look like a traditional bank. they quoted the exact same language that is in the definition of financial services today. and in reaching this conclusion. now, the business and professional services is also a permitted use in this district on the ground floor, but for some provisions in the street frontage section. and brett, if you could put it out. >> the page of that? >> on the street frontage requirements, first as you can see, under the reference to
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145.1 b 2, active use is defined as any principal, conditional or accessory use by its nature does not require non-transparent walls. now there is nothing about a financial service, certainly not what our tenant here is planning to do that would require non-transparent walls. now below that it says, generally active use required and references the section, 145.4. now, this section is required grand floor commercial use and section c, which is points to, uses certain types of services which includes financial use, they do not include business or professional use. now, the planning department recommended when the board of supervisors recently adopted the terival commercial district that they remove the word generally for this very reason because it makes it appear by use of the word generally where there is not the word generally
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before the reference to 145.1. that perhaps this list is not exclusive. and the board of supervisors elected to leave that language in. and for that reason, we believe that this use is allowed without a conditional use in this district. >> thank you, i also want to point out that with great respect to carm en chu who is no longer a supervisor what was or was not intended by the board of supervisors really is a matter of record by the entire board. it is a matter of record, we look at the decision that they made in the interpretation cited by former zoning administrator, which you have before us in exhibit d, i believe, in which the zoning administrator stated that the firm financial services can include things other than the
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three or four types of businesses listed in the definition. the board decided and you have the evidence before you, that a commodities mortgage broker does so many of the kinds of services that banks do, and because it operates and people coming off the street as banks do, and because people are serviced at the desks are professionals and not at a counter, for all of those reasons, the board of supervisors ruled in that case, and that the list of businesses in the definition of financial services is not exclusive. now, you see in the list of the businesses it says such as. now, things can be clearly drafted and often are by the board of supervisors. the question is does such as mean including these and only
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these? or does such as mean these are examples and the following list includes but not limited to the following examples. we believe that it means the latter. we believe that the board of supervisors ruled that it means the latter and that is cited in there and with all due respect to carm en chu's office she was given misinformation on what this use was and i will hand in all of the secretary of state information about the financial company. and she was given misinformation and i really think that we need to look at what the full board of supervisors in a public hearing with all sides talking before them made a decision on. and let's look at the intent of the code. the intent of this active service provision was to incentivize the people in the ground floor with a business to create a lot of windows to create an active use and the incentive was that they could
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avoid a conditional use permit. by doing so. as mr. sanchez will probably tell you he sees no reason that this use needs a conditional use permit, except for the fact that code seems to say and he admits that it is unclear, that there is a conditional use for a active frontage which is not present by virtue of the name of the use. mr. sanchez and his department advised the board of supervisors the language was unclear. unfortunately they did adopt it the way that it is. and we are stuck with a very unclear interpretation. but i ask you to look at the intent of why there is a conditional use permit if you
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don't have active windows allowing and encouraging the public? as to some of the statements made by mr. williams, first of all, vocal point offers services to the general public and so it can't be administrative services as he alleges in his brief because administratives services by definition offers services to other business and not to members of the public. there is no change of use here. such that section 312, the code required notification. not every change of use requires 312 notification to the public. only changes of uses to certain uses and this particular use is not one that triggers section 312. contrary to what mr. williams implied, there is no notice of violation on this property from the building department.
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the building inspector who came out and upon a complaint made and we don't know by whom, we think that it was a neighborhood, we think that it is anonymous resulted in no notice of violation, mr. carlin came out and the contractors merely said that they were moving in and setting up their equipment and start getting ready to do work. but that no work was actually commerced until after the permit issues. and nearly moving your tools into a space and setting up painting equipment and the like is not in itself constitute work without permit. it has been vacant and bays of that there was been vandalism and it continues to attract further criminal activity and this is a business that is
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already in san francisco. it is relocating. it has insurance only where it is and it is relocating to a different space and offering a more of a variety of services. and we know that because the name on the lease is not the name of the insurance company, but rather the financial services company, whose headquarters is in oakland and is not in irvine as alleged by mr. williams. >> excuse me one minute. >> at this point i will just turn in the various documents including irs documents and edd documents and secretary of state documents indicating very clearly what the use is financial services. >> thank you. >> sorry, i forgot, it has been a wild to ask if you will
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accept these? and unfortunately... we did not make all of the copies. >> has the appellant seen this? >> no, we just got these today. i have not shown them to him. >> we do have a copy. sorry. >> did you hand in a copy? >> we just came... yeah. >> we just received these today. >> you just received the documents on the secretary of state. >> unfortunately we just ordered them this afternoon. they did not come from the secretary of state it came from their website. >> okay >> could you tell me what is on them, again? >> could you tell me what is represented in the documents? >> sure. there is a website of the secretary of state, which is called business entity details and the entity name is vocal point network, llc, it is
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active in california, it is address is in oakland. the principal is alfred chan who is indeed with who my client has interacted. and that is one piece of paper. the other is an irs statement, it is a letter to vocal point financial network. in care of mr. alfred chan. >> what are the documents that you personally retrieved or someone retrieved from the internet? >> could you come over and respond to that? >> sure. these documents were obtained from the tenant, vocal point network today in response to inquiries today from scott sanchez, zoning administrator. >> that is correct, he asked us today to clarify and give him paperwork as to whether this was a insurance company or a financial company. >> is there a declaration? >> there is a letter from the
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client, which i can hand you which says to whom it may concern, i am a licensed financial adviser. i provide various services. i own two companies. vocal point financial network and vocal point insurance. and then it describes that the financial network company includes financial plan, retirement planning, investments and estate planning and invest related life insurance and innewties for the clients. >> i mean that you red it into the record that is fine. >> and i don't care for the rest. i you only have one copy any way. >> okay. >> and then i won't be handing this in. thank you. >> if we could hear from the zoning administrator now. and mr. sanchez when you get up there, perhaps you could reconstruct the microphone if you don't mind. before you begin?
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>> thank you. >> you are very careful. >> thank you. >> scott sanchez planning department. so, the four permits that are on appeal before the board this evening none of those were routed to the planning department. of course the electrical and plumbing but the building permit should have been because there is a change of use from a personal service use which would have been the last use the educational use, and the educational after school use excel to the proposed use of vocal point and in reviewing the matter, we did find that the proposed use of vocal point does not comply with the definition of financial service in the planning code. it is i believe a business or professional service use. which is not listed among the uses that is considered to be an act of commercial use. and let me back up. , the property, 2395-26th avenue is located at the